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D&D General On Grognardism...

Pretty much all of this, just kind of went away when we switched to Pathfinder 2e, because it provided a common framework that requires way less negotiation and litigation for everyone to be satisfied with. Its not the presence of conflict that bothers me, its the amount-- we still quibble over what things should be what rarity, whether anathema is going to mean anything, and whether to use the baked in alignment system, what character personalities can mesh with the group. But, its pulling so much more of the weight for me by making these decisions in a curated way, giving my players the toys they want to use, giving me systems that I don't have to negotiate to add because they're already there, and not asking me to balance it all.

This is very similar to the reason I've never been able to get onto the "rulings not rules" school of game operation thought. Everyone needs to decide on the occasional border case or out-of-context issue, but accepting that does not mean you need to accept its a virtue to constantly make judgment calls without framework because a game is so schematic it gives you almost nothing to work with.
 

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Yeah, and I try to cultivate that final agency at my table (while still being more than happy to discuss and compromise and such) but its hard to maintain, since many players see it as a cop out and would rather apply social pressure than enforce their boundary by leaving, which is often messier.

There's entire debates in GM advice communities about whether the GM is entitled to see themselves as anything more than another player with 1/6th of a 'vote.'

I myself have players that see quitting to express disapproval as an unreasonable expectation because GMs are hard to find, which leads to awkward moments when I ask them if they believe themselves entitled to me running for them, which tends to lead to ideals about the democratization of the table and how using my DM agency to go against their wishes is an intrinsic abuse of it.

This isnt a matter of RAW either, these are the people I hack and test elaborate rule systems with. They're open to it when my hacks give them more to play with, but closed to it when they might remove or restrict, or even replace material.

Maybe its me being more sensitive to their disapproval than i should be...

I think there's some middle ground on this. In most games a GM is providing much more of the work of the game than individual players (note the "most" anyone who wants to jump in on this) so I think its not unreasonable for him to expect a bit consideration in choices than individual players.

But I also think when a significant number of his players start having issues with a decision, it strongly behooves him to step back and ask why. There's absolutely a power imbalance in the top-down approach most traditional games have toward GM power, and the fact most people are unsuited to or uninterested in GMing tends to make that worse, not better. The fact many players have had to, at some point in their GMing careers, deal with a GM who cares little at best about what his players think does not improve this dynamic at all.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
There's absolutely a power imbalance in the top-down approach most traditional games have toward GM power, and the fact most people are unsuited to or uninterested in GMing tends to make that worse, not better. The fact many players have had to, at some point in their GMing careers, deal with a GM who cares little at best about what his players think does not improve this dynamic at all.
I'm suddenly reminded of a quote from Brandes Stoddard, in the first part of his History of the Classes column for the rogue:

[...] player narration and DM fiat fall apart whenever there’s anything less than an incredibly high level of trust for the DM. The general trend of D&D’s design up through the end of 4e is to erase dependence on player-DM trust as much as possible, not to create antagonism, but to insulate both sides from it when it appears.
 

Its one of those things that, in the best possible worlds, isn't much of an issue: the GM pays attention to his players needs and desires and respects their views, and the players trust both the GM's motives and judgment and restrain their more self-centered and big-picture-blind tendencies.

Few people live in that sort of Platonic ideal of a gaming group. All it takes is a couple players who trust the GM's intentions but not always his judgment and have a bit of tunnel vision, and a GM who thinks he knows what his players will really enjoy and isn't too sensitive to signals, and there's a problem. And the fact there's such a long history of expectations that Challenging the GM is Bad just makes the whole situation so much worse.
 

But I also think when a significant number of his players start having issues with a decision, it strongly behooves him to step back and ask why. There's absolutely a power imbalance in the top-down approach most traditional games have toward GM power, and the fact most people are unsuited to or uninterested in GMing tends to make that worse, not better. The fact many players have had to, at some point in their GMing careers, deal with a GM who cares little at best about what his players think does not improve this dynamic at all.
There are also this new type players that seem pretty recent in ttrpgs with 5e. @Rob Kuntz mentioned the "some GMs might not be fair" being twisted to assume most GMs by some of the more recent versions of d&d earlier... between that and AL it's not exactly shocking that this attitude would be imparted into players given how high 5e sets the bar in favor of player (survival/power/trivilize & ignored hurdles/etc )in so many ways if the GM feels the need to adjust anything. from the wording of @The-Magic-Sword 's post I think it's unlikely that he's doing anything worthy of suspicion casting doubt on him as the first impulse.
 

There are also this new type players that seem pretty recent in ttrpgs with 5e. @Rob Kuntz mentioned the "some GMs might not be fair" being twisted to assume most GMs by some of the more recent versions of d&d earlier... between that and AL it's not exactly shocking that this attitude would be imparted into players given how high 5e sets the bar in favor of player (survival/power/trivilize & ignored hurdles/etc )in so many ways if the GM feels the need to adjust anything. from the wording of @The-Magic-Sword 's post I think it's unlikely that he's doing anything worthy of suspicion casting doubt on him as the first impulse.

There have been rulebook fundamentalists since the start of the hobby; hell, at one point Gygax became one (arguably for self-interested reasons).

As to suspicion being cast as the first impulse--it may have nothing to do with TheMagicSword. Many, many players have what my wife calls "scar tissue" from dealing with GMs who are either arrogant, or have rather--strange--ideas of what their players will find fun. It doesn't take long with one or more of those for people to carry a complex around, sometimes for a long time.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
As to suspicion being cast as the first impulse--it may have nothing to do with TheMagicSword. Many, many players have what my wife calls "scar tissue" from dealing with GMs who are either arrogant, or have rather--strange--ideas of what their players will find fun. It doesn't take long with one or more of those for people to carry a complex around, sometimes for a long time.
Sometimes for a lifetime.
 

Yeah I didn't get the sense anyone was accusing me of anything, I have some players with 'scar tissue' from earlier GMs who didn't really handle character death well, or handled their power gaming tendencies badly. The player I mentioned about it being unreasonable to find another GM started playing with me, and is just a very stubborn person, in the same way some arguments on here can get kind of spicy but it isn't really personal? Where like everyone just feels super strongly about the cause they're championing?

Its more like that, especially since it only comes up in noodly conversations about either homebrew mechanics or game philosophy. He does accept everything at the table or once I'm really set on it.

We agree about most things actually, in terms of what makes for a good game, he's just super antsy about restrictions (and in fairness, I strongly hew towards an almost entirely unrestricted play experience myself, in terms of character options.) So for instance, he has strong feelings against anathema (read: alignment stuff, specific restrictions like druids not wearing metal armor) and wants to be able to take for granted its gone, I'm kind of ok with them so long as they aren't burdensome, and I can make sense of them in the context of my world.

My policy with DM trust is actually that I consider it one of my boundaries for running a game, I totally understand that it maybe shouldn't be automatic, but I'm not willing to run a game without receiving it. So its kind of up to the individual players if they're willing to play with me.
 

There are also this new type players that seem pretty recent in ttrpgs with 5e. @Rob Kuntz mentioned the "some GMs might not be fair" being twisted to assume most GMs by some of the more recent versions of d&d earlier... between that and AL it's not exactly shocking that this attitude would be imparted into players given how high 5e sets the bar in favor of player (survival/power/trivilize & ignored hurdles/etc )in so many ways if the GM feels the need to adjust anything. from the wording of @The-Magic-Sword 's post I think it's unlikely that he's doing anything worthy of suspicion casting doubt on him as the first impulse.
Heh. "By the book, for the book and nothing but the book! So help me.... WotC." I will not post my "Three Stooges Paradox" I had distilled from past to present DMing, through the editions, here. That said I have stated and staked my position clearly and will add only this. Having followed the first link was but a reminder, nothing new. I've watched since the beginning and very closely so there was no surprise. What is forsaken by Player-Only agency is a worn topic at this point. It's been condensed to entertainment only, i.e., only having fun; and everyone is a winner of "fun". Fun has been defined as an irrefutable output by winning, not by playing or by any other measures that may, even incrementally, lead to mastery of anything sub to the point of winning. So if the system is devised up front to ensure winning occurs in each and every case, there cannot be (in the design philosophy so engineered/applied) interpreted DM agency of the finite system. The latter DM agency morphs into administrative roles in ensuring that the engaged system is working to its proper output from the designed-in inputs.

OD&D/AD&D are what they are due to overall system-capable elasticity.

The latter editions are what they are for the opposite reason. They are the finalized median view of the market. The market is about quickest throughput in all cases, from A to B to C. Elasticity is its polar opposite as that creates uncertainty in output. Is this a cynical view by WotC? No. It is a straight up market view and no one should be surprised by it in the least.
 

Heh. "By the book, for the book and nothing but the book! So help me.... WotC." I will not post my "Three Stooges Paradox" I had distilled from past to present DMing, through the editions, here. That said I have stated and staked my position clearly and will add only this. Having followed the first link was but a reminder, nothing new. I've watched since the beginning and very closely so there was no surprise. What is forsaken by Player-Only agency is a worn topic at this point. It's been condensed to entertainment only, i.e., only having fun; and everyone is a winner of "fun". Fun has been defined as an irrefutable output by winning, not by playing or by any other measures that may, even incrementally, lead to mastery of anything sub to the point of winning. So if the system is devised up front to ensure winning occurs in each and every case, there cannot be (in the design philosophy so engineered/applied) interpreted DM agency of the finite system. The latter DM agency morphs into administrative roles in ensuring that the engaged system is working to its proper output from the designed-in inputs.

OD&D/AD&D are what they are due to overall system-capable elasticity.

The latter editions are what they are for the opposite reason. They are the finalized median view of the market. The market is about quickest throughput in all cases, from A to B to C. Elasticity is its polar opposite as that creates uncertainty in output. Is this a cynical view by WotC? No. It is a straight up market view and no one should be surprised by it in the least.

This isn't an argument by any means, but more a contrast: my preference, as a GM raised on 4e of all systems (sort of considered a high watermark for the player empowerment centric play) is for a relatively RAW experience, but modified by very intentional house rules (as opposed to on the spot rulings) that functionally create a variant game that adheres religiously to its own internal RAW. Those systems can be elaborate, but I strongly desire that they be consistent and upfront so the players can plan around them.

Currently, I have a rules variant my players enjoy where Hero Points (an inspiration like mechanic that allows you occasional re-rolls, and awarded for things that might not be smart tactically but fit the fantasy) are given out via charisma at a rate of 1 + Half-Charisma-Modifier-Rounded-Down-- as GM I don't like arbitrarily giving them out, and its my mechanic for re-balancing the Charisma stat and making it useful (and therefore desirable) for all characters.

My game is also a 'variation' because it intentionally ignores the guidance the game we play has, that higher level characters can usually find magic items that surpass settlement level by leveraging their influence. I observed that mechanic to devalue crafting as written, and removed it to let the crafting system shine more.

Finally, I have an elaborate rules document in the works to support a West Marches style of play with the game-- defining treasure bundles to give guidance as to how to create treasure hoards that respect the spirit of WBL without actually adhering to it (ensuring that the extra wealth isn't an order of magnitude above), touching up the chase subsystem so they can be used on the spot to adjudicate escapes from higher level creatures likely to crush the party, as a consistent mechanic; Implementing reputation for a protectionist approach to ports where establishing a right to do business via permits is necessary to use it as a starting or ending location for voyages or to accomplish downtime activities there. Establishing a system through which treasure is used to purchase level ups directly (training, in the fiction.)

The game actually gives me guidance for most of these things-- the 'treasure bundles' are actually from a table in the GM book that is meant to allow the GM to award treasure on a per encounter basis, using the increments as differently sized chests of treasure appropriate to the level of the adventure, then allowing GMs (including myself and a few other friends) to use those bundles to construct treasure hoards of whatever size. The chase subsystem is present and based on a very hackable 'victory point mechanic' thats actually meant for the GM to develop their own subsystems based on it, so I'll just be adjusting it. Reputation is another victory point system, I know vaguely how many total hero points the party is meant to have through the advice given in the book for distributing them. Downtime is a core system and very well defined, so I just need to worry about how to track time and 'give out' Downtime (I'm thinking per session, since treasure is not a guarantee by design, it'll make a consolation prize.) The game has very basic rules for hexcrawling we'll probably flesh out a little more.

Even the way leads are going to have designated levels, balanced around 4 players of that level, and then stocked with treasure accordingly-- then intentionally allowing players to decide who they bring regardless of level, and allowing them to bring more than 4, without increasing the difficulty of treasure to encourage a risk/reward tradeoff where confronting higher level challenges is very rewarding, as is using a smaller group (since everyone's cuts are liable to be smaller) but might be more than the party can handle, is something that I can do because of how good the encounter guidelines are and how they account so well for number of PCs and level.

Whats lovely about that, relative to 5e, is that the game (Pathfinder 2e) gives me all this guidance that I can use to understand the 'design principles' of the game, and base my own variations off of. I'm reminded of opening ADND and reading Gary's advice for how to keep track of time in groups of players that don't all play together at once (which is something I did explicitly looking for thoughts on time tracking in this game, and informed my solution, despite it not being much like his.) There were all of these rules to adjudicate different things, and even if you didn't use them all (or at all) you could read it and use it to understand the game's underlying principles. Which is my biggest point of frustration with 5e, relative to Pathfinder 2e, or even ADND (which, I was born in 94, it predates me quite a bit.) I did the same thing with 5e (in terms of west marches stuff), and it was so much more frustrating to find any 'reasoned design principles' to anchor that too, and the work was so much more daunting.

TLDR: The takeaway, is that the 'player empowerment' style doesn't necessarily preclude GM agency, it just shfits it to a role of adding things rather than removing them, and to a 'houserules, not rulings' approach that rewards 'GM-as-designer.'
 


You don't need a set of rules to have DM Agency. This is where latter editions of the rules fail to note, in deference to a minority view that all DMs "might not be fair," that a DM has final agency; and where they misstep in that the players can exit the game, en masse, to show their disapproval. Negating DM agency creates a slew of problems just as you've noted. And do note that during the playtests of D&D and all of our play with 30+ players we never had a problem with DM agency because it is baked into the rules that the DM is an impartial and fair game master, just like judges in sporting events, chess tournaments, in directed play of children, etc.
This is where I just don't get it from the newer generation of DM's and Players. This DM vs. Players...yes in the early days, there were toxic DM's that pretty much embodied, us against them. Most of those campaigns didn't last long as the players were either killed or left. Then we had a shift where the rules were meant to almost protect the players and give them a say in what they could and couldn't do. We get the rise of the toxic rule lawyer player who is protected by the rules. Where RAW is more important than RAI or even plot device...
 

This is where I just don't get it from the newer generation of DM's and Players. This DM vs. Players...yes in the early days, there were toxic DM's that pretty much embodied, us against them. Most of those campaigns didn't last long as the players were either killed or left. Then we had a shift where the rules were meant to almost protect the players and give them a say in what they could and couldn't do. We get the rise of the toxic rule lawyer player who is protected by the rules. Where RAW is more important than RAI or even plot device...

I just have to say that if you think toxic GMs faded away over time, that's pleasantly optimistic. As long as there's the strong imbalance between the number of GMs and players in the hobby, problematic GMs are going to be able to coast on for a long time. They might not be as extreme in all cases as the kill-'em-off trends at the start of the hobby, but there's a lot of ways for GMs to make things unpleasant that aren't nearly that terminal.

And honestly, toxic players never needed player empowerment to be problematic. While there have always been more players than GMs, there have always been a number of reasons a GM will put up with a really problematic player for far longer than they should; an expectation that the GM should at least think before bypassing rules has not been necessary for that.
 

I just have to say that if you think toxic GMs faded away over time, that's pleasantly optimistic. As long as there's the strong imbalance between the number of GMs and players in the hobby, problematic GMs are going to be able to coast on for a long time. They might not be as extreme in all cases as the kill-'em-off trends at the start of the hobby, but there's a lot of ways for GMs to make things unpleasant that aren't nearly that terminal.

And honestly, toxic players never needed player empowerment to be problematic. While there have always been more players than GMs, there have always been a number of reasons a GM will put up with a really problematic player for far longer than they should; an expectation that the GM should at least think before bypassing rules has not been necessary for that.
I can see that they are still around...I just don't deal with them...including toxic players...It does help that I'm looked at as the male patriarch of our group and they do give me respect when I'm running. Though I'm fair game between sessions ;).

Heh, the kill 'em all was very popular in the early days...which I really don't understand...I ran into 2 DM's that killed off my character within the opening minutes of playing. The first when we just heading to town and a black dragon flew down and breathed on us, I think that campaign lasted all of 5 minutes.
 
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TLDR: The takeaway, is that the 'player empowerment' style doesn't necessarily preclude GM agency, it just shfits it to a role of adding things rather than removing them, and to a 'houserules, not rulings' approach that rewards 'GM-as-designer.'
The problem with "adding things" is that there needs to be room baked into the system to do that. Take feats & magic items as an example, both are pretty much the defacto default expectation but because the bar on PC ability is pegged so high WotC just throws up their hands and says "feats and magic items are optional" to dismiss all of the resulting problems from actually using them & we are still talking about a houserule wotc keeps devoting significant pagespace in book after book. WotC can't easily make simple changes to the 5e core that make room for them for the same reason it's not easy for a gm to add things outside an narrow band of allowed additions. Since you mentioned it, I tried hero points from the dmg early on and liked it better than inspiration but there's still too much missing that would be very difficult to meaningfully homebrew in without carving flesh off the plsyrtd just to add some ofit back in the new elements like tactical stuff and lethality mitigating tools that force everyone to work so a team striving to exhibit some level of skill beyond charging in and wackamole healing word through everything until "we need to take s short rest... nor mot moving from this spot dont care itlf its not safe cause no fight will ever last an hour

I just have to say that if you think toxic GMs faded away over time, that's pleasantly optimistic. As long as there's the strong imbalance between the number of GMs and players in the hobby, problematic GMs are going to be able to coast on for a long time. They might not be as extreme in all cases as the kill-'em-off trends at the start of the hobby, but there's a lot of ways for GMs to make things unpleasant that aren't nearly that terminal.

And honestly, toxic players never needed player empowerment to be problematic. While there have always been more players than GMs, there have always been a number of reasons a GM will put up with a really problematic player for far longer than they should; an expectation that the GM should at least think before bypassing rules has not been necessary for that.
They may still exist, I'm sure they do, but witc has turned up the level of suspicion to hair trigger levels with do many system elements designed towards trying to force them into line &such s high bar that z gm needs to look like they are gearing upone to some degree right out of the gate before they can carve out room for new stuff. After that if bob does or whatever its because Alice was a mean killer hm not because he charged into ten orcs with three hp while ignoring all of Alice's attempts to paint how bad of an idea Bob's character knows charging it he orc fortress gate with no plan was
 

The problem with "adding things" is that there needs to be room baked into the system to do that. Take feats & magic items as an example, both are pretty much the defacto default expectation but because the bar on PC ability is pegged so high WotC just throws up their hands and says "feats and magic items are optional" to dismiss all of the resulting problems from actually using them & we are still talking about a houserule wotc keeps devoting significant pagespace in book after book. WotC can't easily make simple changes to the 5e core that make room for them for the same reason it's not easy for a gm to add things outside an narrow band of allowed additions. Since you mentioned it, I tried hero points from the dmg early on and liked it better than inspiration but there's still too much missing that would be very difficult to meaningfully homebrew in without carving flesh off the plsyrtd just to add some ofit back in the new elements like tactical stuff and lethality mitigating tools that force everyone to work so a team striving to exhibit some level of skill beyond charging in and wackamole healing word through everything until "we need to take s short rest... nor mot moving from this spot dont care itlf its not safe cause no fight will ever last an hour


They may still exist, I'm sure they do, but witc has turned up the level of suspicion to hair trigger levels with do many system elements designed towards trying to force them into line &such s high bar that z gm needs to look like they are gearing upone to some degree right out of the gate before they can carve out room for new stuff. After that if bob does or whatever its because Alice was a mean killer hm not because he charged into ten orcs with three hp while ignoring all of Alice's attempts to paint how bad of an idea Bob's character knows charging it he orc fortress gate with no plan was
So to clarify, I'm not talking about Hero Points from 5e, I played 5e for a long time, but got really sick of it. I play Pathfinder 2e, which at least in my experience, does not have these problems. Feats and magic items are baked in (though there are explicit variant rules to hack the magic items back to optional) multiclassing is baked in, the game is very well balanced, and designed in a way that offers diminishing returns from trying to pour all your resources into one thing, so you don't have to 'shave power away' to add it back in, for the most part, and despite the actual volume of rulebook material available, there's plenty of room to modify the game, and well made tools for doing so.

It also has a lot of the stuff I might've otherwise tried to painstakingly homebrew into 5e, right out of the box.
 

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
Over 50 and I literally spend over a thousand a year on my gaming hobby and have brought handfuls of players into the game. WotC can ignore me at their peril. :p
I think that this is a matter of people hoping and wishing for things to support their personal view of reality vs actual factual reality.
Forty Percent of Dungeons & Dragons Players Are 25 or Younger states that 40% of players are 25 and under. Conversely that means that 60% of players are 26 and older, and that means that most of them grew up on 2e ad&d or 3.x So those are the versions they are most familiar with. They also point out that only 11% of players are 40+ but that all depends on the question asked. I suspect it was "Do you currently actively play D&D" to which most people 40 and up are too GD busy with work, home, a family, kids, and similar to play D&D except maybe to dm for their kids. I know for a fact that I fall into that demographic. But I suspect that given the income disparity, that while younger players like to throw "shade on the grogs" that WotC knows full well who helps pay the bills. Grogs have kids and they've also got the money to be able to afford to pay for the hobby. And frankly, how many of the new current generation are here because of things like Critical Role, Stranger things, and similar. D&D when we played it, it wasn't cool it was just fun. Now it's cool, so we have a lot of people chasing a fad, and you can be sure that a lot of them will likely exit the hobby when the cool wears off a little.
 

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
So this brings me to the grognards of Enworld. I am always baffled at the sheet amount of words in support of RPG gaming having peaked sometime in the late 70s, with no system since that time being in overall comparison sake "better" for them.

I don't really have a question, but more of an invitation for discussion. If you think RPG design peaked in the late 70s, what about that design speaks to you so strongly?

I do have a lot of nostalgia for that Basic rulebook I had in the early 80s, but having played the game compared to a modem design my admiration for that system is entirely based on the nostalgia it represents. Descending AC, wizards with one spell a day and 4hp, puzzles mixing real world knowledge with character problem solving and "beating the adventure" versus "telling a good story" all are things I avoid in 2021.
I went through the first 10 pages or responses and you know what I found. Not one person who actually addressed this fine posters honest and sincere question; "what about that design speaks to you so strongly?" Not one.

Instead what did I see? Page after page of people singing the "praises" of 5e and 4e (forth edition is perhaps the singular WORST edition there is. There I said it to your face. It's horrible. It took the heart right out of the game by taking away even the trappings of injury from the game. A single night's rest makes everything better... just like a crappy CRPG. Go to an inn, rest a single night, and its all better. What a joke of a system.)

So I'm going to answer it. It might take a while, so buckle up.

Doyle wrote for Sherlock Holmes. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

That right there is why.

For all the plentiful rules of later editions 3.x and later. For all the simplifications, for all the "untangling" of things and the changing of AC from a downward to an upward number. For all the pretty art in the new books. It lacks silence. Silence is the fecund earth in which our hobby grows, it's imagination.

Earlier versions are silent... on what your limits are, on how to tell you HOW to play the game. They give guidelines, they encourage you, and give you hints they're like the hand of your father hovering next to you after he'd taken the training wheels off your bike. The hand that is there to catch you if you need it, but which trusts you to learn to "fly" on your own.

In new editions you have to roll for intimidate, or investigate, or any of a number of things that in 1e or 2e you just DID. That you role played, not Roll played. In those older editions the rules were silent about how you'd intimidate that guard, or how you searched for treasure, so instead you sat at the table with your friends and you spun stories of how you did those things. You had to talk to the guard and the DM, being a fair minded adjudicator, asked himself, did their friend do enough to pull it off. You didn't have a roll tell you if some NPC lied to them, you relied on the DM's acting skills to carry it off and you became canny to it. You ROLE PLAYED. Sure AC might have been a little bass ackwards... but who gave a flip? That's easy to fix, flip the numbers around, it's 15 minutes of work and done. Tell me, does a table of numbers make that big a deal to you? Honestly? Are you going to claim for an instant that changing a mechanic from down to up made THAT big of an improvement? If so, you're a bald faced liar and you're being knowingly and deliberately obtuse.

So in short, why does the older version speak to me more than the new versions? Look at the prices that A copy of all 4 of the Wilderlands series are going for today. upwards of 900$ with maps in garbage shape, for that new cost 25$ total maybe. Go to a used book store and try to find an original DMG with the efreet cover and look at the price, if you find it for less than $200 you're lucky. People are cottoning in that pretty graphics don't matter. D&D is a game of the imagination, not pretty dice. And the earlier versions captured the essence of D&D better, by being silent when they needed to be. That silence is a quite invaluable companion to gamers, because it gives them more freedom and helps them confidently come up with their own ways of playing "let's pretend" where they don't need rules or dice rolls for everything.
 

I went through the first 10 pages or responses and you know what I found. Not one person who actually addressed this fine posters honest and sincere question; "what about that design speaks to you so strongly?" Not one.

I came into the thread late, so that was the biggest reason I didn't answer it.

The other was, bluntly, because I think a number of people who call themselves grognards do the hobby no service whatsoever with their attitudes. And since I've been playing since 1975 I think I have the right to that opinion.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I went through the first 10 pages or responses and you know what I found. Not one person who actually addressed this fine posters honest and sincere question; "what about that design speaks to you so strongly?" Not one.

Instead what did I see? Page after page of people singing the "praises" of 5e and 4e (forth edition is perhaps the singular WORST edition there is. There I said it to your face. It's horrible. It took the heart right out of the game by taking away even the trappings of injury from the game. A single night's rest makes everything better... just like a crappy CRPG. Go to an inn, rest a single night, and its all better. What a joke of a system.)

So I'm going to answer it. It might take a while, so buckle up.

Doyle wrote for Sherlock Holmes. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

That right there is why.

For all the plentiful rules of later editions 3.x and later. For all the simplifications, for all the "untangling" of things and the changing of AC from a downward to an upward number. For all the pretty art in the new books. It lacks silence. Silence is the fecund earth in which our hobby grows, it's imagination.

Earlier versions are silent... on what your limits are, on how to tell you HOW to play the game. They give guidelines, they encourage you, and give you hints they're like the hand of your father hovering next to you after he'd taken the training wheels off your bike. The hand that is there to catch you if you need it, but which trusts you to learn to "fly" on your own.

In new editions you have to roll for intimidate, or investigate, or any of a number of things that in 1e or 2e you just DID. That you role played, not Roll played. In those older editions the rules were silent about how you'd intimidate that guard, or how you searched for treasure, so instead you sat at the table with your friends and you spun stories of how you did those things. You had to talk to the guard and the DM, being a fair minded adjudicator, asked himself, did their friend do enough to pull it off. You didn't have a roll tell you if some NPC lied to them, you relied on the DM's acting skills to carry it off and you became canny to it. You ROLE PLAYED. Sure AC might have been a little bass ackwards... but who gave a flip? That's easy to fix, flip the numbers around, it's 15 minutes of work and done. Tell me, does a table of numbers make that big a deal to you? Honestly? Are you going to claim for an instant that changing a mechanic from down to up made THAT big of an improvement? If so, you're a bald faced liar and you're being knowingly and deliberately obtuse.

So in short, why does the older version speak to me more than the new versions? Look at the prices that A copy of all 4 of the Wilderlands series are going for today. upwards of 900$ with maps in garbage shape, for that new cost 25$ total maybe. Go to a used book store and try to find an original DMG with the efreet cover and look at the price, if you find it for less than $200 you're lucky. People are cottoning in that pretty graphics don't matter. D&D is a game of the imagination, not pretty dice. And the earlier versions captured the essence of D&D better, by being silent when they needed to be. That silence is a quite invaluable companion to gamers, because it gives them more freedom and helps them confidently come up with their own ways of playing "let's pretend" where they don't need rules or dice rolls for everything.
I'm on my phone, so I won't split apart your posts point by point. I'll just say that your posts are rife with pure speculation with nothing really concrete to back up your assumptions, and you're flat out incorrect. On the very first page I laid out in detail what aspects of the design I liked.

As far as the whole roll play vs role play diatribe, that's not accurate as well. You seem to be forgetting how ability roll under checks existed in 1e from the early 80s on. And even today, when a skill like persuasion exists, many still just role play it out. It's a preference thing.

So honestly, your posts read to me as just someone who can't be bothered to actually read the discussion but is looking for an excuse to disparage editions and players without much basis on accuracy--old men yelling at clouds. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how your posts read.
 

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